5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

 

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There are many foods out there that are marketed to parents and children. Companies produce fancy packaging, loud commercials with happy kids, and buzz words for parents like:

“part of this nutritious breakfast”

“part of a balanced meal”

“18 vitamins and minerals included”

“healthy whole grains”

We are HUGE consumers here in the U.S. and we fall for much of this marketing. Foods are even packaged to appear healthier, by using colors that consumers view as a healthy color…like earthy greens and browns.

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It’s all marketing.

Here is a piece I wrote all about the marketing of food in our culture.

Many of these processed convenience foods have added vitamins and minerals. However, these vitamins are synthetic forms and therefore are not assimilated and utilized well in the body. Real vitamins and minerals come in real food (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats) and do not need to be synthesized or added to food.

Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

List taken from: The Global Healing Center

 

Most processed foods in general will keep your child’s blood sugar spiking and plummeting. Your child craves more sweets and sugary foods, and never feels satiated. In the primal community this is known as being “sugar adapted”. Yes, children do need carbohydrates for energy. I’m not suggesting a low-carbohydrate diet for children. There is a huge misconception that people who follow the primal lifestyle eat low-carb. That just isn’t the case. Most children consume massive amounts of processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, and this is considered the cultural norm. Therefore anything less than that is automatically viewed as low carb. It starts with parents being told by medical authorities that they should start their baby on nutrient void rice cereal to fill them up. Next it leads to drinkable sugar laden yogurts marketed to babies, then cute little plastic toddler cups filled with finger sized crackers and cookies, then it leads to big bowls of sugary cereals. Removing these processed foods from a child’s diet and offering real food to children does not make you a bad, rigid, or depriving parent. You may feel like a fish out of water at times, but you are making the right decision for the health of your children, both now and in the future. Children can get adequate nutrients from a real food diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of refined sugar-free treats made with natural sweeteners. Yes it might not be as convenient as we are use to in a rush rush culture, however, the future health of our children depends upon us making changes in the right direction.

 Pictured:  Burgers On A Stick with dipping sauce!

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What are MY top 5 suggestions of foods to avoid giving to children?


1. Cereal

Any and all cereal. Rice cereal for babies, cold cereals, quick oats, etc… Here is a blog post I wrote about cereal. In a nutshell: Cereal is made with grains (usually with added sugar and food dyes), and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient rich sources that will not leave your child’s blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal makes the child’s pancreas work extra hard in order to process it all. It also fills them up with little nutrients or healthy fats. I also wrote a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers which explains why rice cereal is not a good first choice of foods for infants.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*anti-nutrients that can affect digestion

*high sugar

*low in quality fat and protein

 

 2. Kid marketed crackers and cookies like those little golden fish crackers, and little bear cracker cookies, etc.

Just like the cereal above, these small toddler marketed crackers and cookies might look exciting and fun, as well as easy and quick. Kids may love the taste of them. However… for all the same reasons mentioned above regarding cereal, these crackers are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins, food dyes, high amounts of sugar, and are very low in quality nutrient-dense fats and proteins that children need to feel satiated, happy, and stable. Again, this gets children sugar adapted and reaching for processed carbs vs real food. Did I say avoid all carbohydrates for children? Absolutely not. Here is a post I wrote all about healthy snack ideas for children.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*low in quality fat and protein

*high sugar

 

3. Most commercial yogurts:

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Commercial yogurts contain as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream or other sugary desserts. One 8-ounce serving of low-fat or fat free sweetened yogurt can contain as much as 47 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar is equivalent to almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. People think because it’s yogurt, it must be healthy. Most yogurts should really be treated as a dessert rather than a nourishing snack or meal. It is difficult to find yogurt that does not have some or all of the fat removed from it. Fats are nutrient dense sources of energy for growing brains. However, yogurt manufacturers are still removing fat from yogurt, and adding sugar and food dye. If you are going to give your child yogurt, the best option is raw (unpasteurized), unsweetened, full fat yogurt. Plain yogurt does not contain any added sugar, but still contains naturally occurring milk sugars called lactose. An 8-ounce serving of plain yogurt still contains approximately 12 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Homemade plain yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, does not contain sugar. The lactose is digested by beneficial bacteria, bringing the amount of sugar down to nothing. Raw yogurt has beneficial enzymes and probiotics to help with digestion, and can help colonize the gut with good bacteria. It can be sweetened with a little fruit or drizzle of raw honey.

*very high sugar

*food dye

*low in quality fat unless full fat

 

4. Kid Marketed “Energy” bars:

 

These “power” or “energy” bars marketed at kids contain a long list of ingredients that can be harmful on the gut, and contain a high amount of refined sugar. many contain as much sugar as candy bars, even organic ones. Please note… not everything that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good for your body. An organic pop tart is still a pop tart. It still contains high carb, low healthy fat, low protein. We want our kids to power up with nutrient rich healthy fats and proteins!

Here is an example of ingredients from a popular brand of energy bars targeted at kids:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fruit Paste Blend (Organic Date Paste, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Raisin Paste), Organic Cocoa, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12). ALLERGEN STATEMENT: CONTAINS SOY AND TRACES OF DAIRY. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, WHEAT, AND TREE NUTS.

As you can see the bar contains mainly grains and sugar (both cane syrup and fruit sugar), soy, processed oils and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

If your child is participating in sports and needs extra boosts of carbohydrates, try making homemade energy bites or balls. You simply process nuts with dates, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Here is my recipe for Blood Orange Coconut Balls.

 5. “Whole Grain” breads:

 

The breads today are not the breads of our ancestors. Our earliest ancestors did not eat bread. Approximately 10-12 thousand years ago (note that we’ve been around for over 200,000 years in our human form) grains were introduced into our diet. Many traditional cultures did not have bread as such a huge portion of every meal. They did not eat sandwiches daily. They also knew how to properly prepare breads (soak, sprout, and ferment) so that the body can digest and assimilate nutrients from it. The issue related to bread consumption is not only just the buzz word “gluten” that we hear. Yes, gluten is a huge offender to many people. Probably more than we can begin to realize. However, there are many other components to bread that can also have an affect on our health. Breads that are not properly prepared contain phytates and lectins, also known as anti-nutrients that can bind to minerals and render them unavailable to our bodies. These anti-nutrients also contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. There are proteins found in bread other than gluten that may also have a profound affect on many people. Just like cereal, cookies, and crackers, eating bread as a staple keeps children sugar adapted, and not feeling satiated.

So what can I give my child in place of bread?

Some suggestions: Applegate Farms (GF, dairy free, soy free, and humanely raised) deli meat roll-ups, bun-less Applegate Farms grassfed hotdogs usually cut up with toothpicks and dipping sauces, bunless burgers or lettuce for the bun. Almond or sun butter used as a dip for apples or carrots rather than on bread. On the occasions my children do have bread, I make sure it is the Sprouted grain kind. However, sprouted or not it is still digested in the body and broken down to sugar. Therefore, eating several slices a day would still have a profound affect on the sugar handling of a child.

*anti-nutrients

*low in quality fats and proteins

*high in sugar

*pro-inflammatory

In a nutshell… carbohydrate rich processed foods tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. It might not be easy to cut these foods out and replace them with real nourishing foods, but try in steps.

What are some tips to getting your children to enjoy real food?

 

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*Involve them in the process of cooking. If your child helped prepare the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.

*Children love to eat things on platters with toothpicks.

*Children love to forage for food! Take them apple picking and berry picking. We also love to collect fiddlehead ferns in the Spring.

*Explain to them the reasons behind your decisions.

*Lead by example. If those processed foods are not an option, they will start to enjoy real food more.

 

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

I am speaking at Paleo FX! Get your tickets here to see my talk!

 

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* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

To The Bully Mom Who Belittled Me

I was going to just let it go. I tried so hard to let it go. I repeated to myself over and over that she is not worth the tears. I actually hate drama and usually do everything I can to avoid it. What happened hurt me. I still tried to let it go. Then I thought about all the other parents who have to deal with bully moms like this. Parent’s who just want to feed their children real food, but are constantly undermined by insecure people who can’t handle other people’s decisions. I decided that writing about this traumatizing experience will not only help me to heal from it, but will help other parents to know that they are not alone, and to stay strong in their convictions. I remember another dear blogger friend writing about his experience being bullied by another adult because he would not eat cake at an adult gathering. It’s sad to think that some adults really do sink this low. I have experienced this to a lesser degree on several occasions, but never to this extent. I remember being told by another mom that my son would go off to college and binge on junk food if I didn’t buy him a muffin at 2 years old (a muffin that he wasn’t even asking for or interested in). I remember being told by another parent that my children were at risk for rickets because I was not giving them cows milk.

 

 

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The situation:

 

I met this new mom who I will call “Bully Mom” whose son is friends with my son at school. Bully Mom invited me over her house for dinner. I thought that was thoughtful as I am going through some major transitions in my life, and was having a very rough day. She had gone to my recent talk on ancestral health, and knew that I followed this lifestyle with both myself and my children. After the talk Bully Mom made sure to come up and tell me that she eats grains. Which is fine. Believe it or not, I don’t judge people for eating grains! Really, I don’t. People are welcome to take what they want from my talks, my blog, my FB posts etc, and leave the rest. I appreciated that she came, and thanked her for coming. Most of my friends do not follow this lifestyle, and are still very good friends. We laugh together, and love each other. That is really what matters.

 

Back to the situation. I too my 5 year old along with me to Bully Mom’s house for dinner, and to play with her children. Before coming over we stopped to get sushi for my son who was very hungry. He loves sushi, and I thought that would take the edge off of his hunger.

 

It started with several comments from Bully Mom while Jonah was eating his sushi about how “her children eat processed foods” and “how children can handle processed foods.” I didn’t comment. I simply nodded and changed the subject. I am use to being questioned by people for my choices and I usually just change the subject. Her son was asking about the sushi and she hushed him and said to him “no, you don’t like that.”

 

Then Bully Mom gave my son 2 slices of pizza and a plate of pasta. She did not ask me first. She asked him. Of course he said yes. I did not say anything. She was making separate meals of pizza and pasta for all the kids, and a different healthy meal for the adults. Usually in these situations I let go, and allow my children to have whatever it is. They do not have food allergies. I even let loose with them at home. I am not militant in my lifestyle, I do the best I can in the context of our culture. Even though I knew it may upset his stomach, I knew he would still be okay. I understand that he will have to learn to make these decisions and how different foods affect how he feels. I can’t control everything. I understand that. I was thankful that she was cooking a nice meal for me, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner.

 

After finishing his meal some other friends arrived with Doritos, and my child started eating them. Again, I didn’t feel great about it, but I let him have some. However, as it became closer to his bedtime, I didn’t want him to wake at night with a bellyache. So I told him that was enough Doritos. He was fine with it.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She took my son by the hand and led him to her pantry. She came out with him holding a bag of cheetos. He opened it and started eating them. I felt a pit in my stomach for being undermined, but still did not speak up. I let him have a few. Then I said to him “that is enough for tonight, we can finish these later” and closed up the bag.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She yelled (yes, she spoke loudly in front of my other girlfriends and my son) “LET HIM HAVE THOSE! It’s not like he gets them all the time!”  I replied “It is my child, and my choice. He has had enough.” I had enough too. I packed up and left. As I got in the car I felt the pit in my stomach that rose up and my eyes welled with hot tears. I sobbed. I was treated like less than a person simply because of my lifestyle. I will never let someone treat me this way again.

 

 

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The next day I found out that Bully Mom had unfriended and blocked me on facebook. Why? Well simply because she is insecure with her parenting choices, and needed someone to take it out on. I was her scapegoat. I feel for her, and after getting all of this out of my system, I will forgive her. I am letting it go.

 

However, I’m tired of pretending that it is okay to treat people this way. It’s not okay. If you disagree with someone’s lifestyle choices that much, then don’t invite them over to dinner! Do not undermine other parents by feeding their children things you know they are not comfortable with. If you are a parent trying to feed your child real food, you are not depriving neglecting, or hurting them. I’m sorry that we have to live in such an eff’d up culture that people truly believe this. Believe it or not kids can enjoy real food. You are also not alone.

 

 

 

 

A Month of Real Food School Lunches!

I’ve been sharing my 6 year old son Joshua’s lunches on my facebook page. I’ve received a very positive response and it has been requested that I put all the lunches together.

Here are 4 weeks (20) of his real food school lunches. Most of the time I give him leftovers from the night before. The lunchbox that I use is called a planetbox. Another option is the lunchbots. Both are stainless steel. The planetbox is great! I plan to use it for years to come and it saves on packaging in the long run. Many people have asked how I heat his food up. All of his lunches (including the leftover meats) are packaged with an icepack and served cold. He is use to eating this way and it doesn’t bother him (at least he hasn’t complained at all). If you think about it, we eat deli meats cold. I try to give him a cold dipping sauce as well, when he has leftover meats. Another question I always get asked is why I give him baby carrots (because they are rumored to be soaked in chlorine bleach). First of all, the brand that I give him are literally tumbled carrots (cut from big carrots). They are organic and never soaked in any bleach or ammonia…I even called the company to verify. Here is the snopes report on baby carrots. I am a Mom who wants to feed her kids real food in a culture where real food is not easy to seek out. My hope is that this will help you find your way a bit!

 

 

Enjoy!

Applegate Farms Ham Rolls, Avocado, Mango, Berries, Enjoy life choc chips

Roasted chile lime chicken thighs, berries and mango, avocado, roasted butternut squash, enjoy life choc chips

Grass-fed taco seasoned beef, nectarine, strawberries, cucumber, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes

Chicken leg and roasted potatoes, roasted cauliflower, berries, mango, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Seasoned ground grass-fed beef with asparagus, cucumbers and sugar snap peas, avocadoes, berries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Leftover roasted chicken leg, almonds, carrots, apricots, berries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Leftover roasted chicken with dipping sauce, cauliflower, avocado, berries and mango, apricots

Leftover pork roast, leftover roasted sweet potatoes, avocadoes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, dried apricots

Leftover pot roast, leftover roasted potatoes, asparagus, berries and mango, apricots

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Hard boiled eggs and bacon, avocado, sugar snap peas, strawberries and mange, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Leftover crock pot roast, fresh coconut meat, blueberries and strawberries, butternut squash, medjool date

Pastured sausage, avacado, broccoli roasted with bacon fat, raspberries and fresh coconut meat, hail merry chocolate macaroon

Leftover asian ground turkey, raspberries, sugar snap peas, carrots and guacamole, hail merry choc. Macaroon

Applegate Farms Ham Rolls, cashews, fresh coconut meat, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, medjool date

Chicken leg, hericots verts, avocado, black berries and strawberries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Wild shrimp with dipping sauce, sugar snap peas and carrots, blueberry goat cheese, strawberries

Leftover crock pot roast with dipping sauce, leftover roasted potatoes, mango, sugar snap peas and carrots, enjoy life choc. Chips

Leftover grass-fed beef with taco seasoning, mango, carrots, raspberries and blackberries, enjoy life choc. Chips

Leftover grass-fed burger with spicy mustard for dipping, sugar snap peas and carrots, sweet potato fries, blackberries and raspberries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Looking for more school lunch and snack ideas?

Check out my e-book

“Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox!”  which contains over 50 real food school lunch and snack ideas, plus my perspectives on feeding children with love.

Get a free consultation

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. Kathryn is a nutrition blogger over atwww.primalblissnutrition.com, where she shares whole food recipes and articles pertaining to health and wellness. Kathryn wrote an e-book entitled “Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox” sharing over 50 of his real food school lunches, as well as a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications. My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ.Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feelamazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through skype and google hangouts!

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free phone consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primal Babywearing!

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Most of my post focus on primal nutrition-eating like our early ancestors. I also like to shift the focus every now and then to other “primal” topics that I am passionate about. I am a Mom of 2 beautiful boys ages 6 and 3. I am also a certified breastfeeding counselor/educator. I had to overcome many breastfeeding obstacles, and love to help new mamas out. One of the things I found that made breastfeeding easier for me was “babywearing.” I was introduced to the world of babywearing (outside of the bjorn) with my second son. I wish I had discovered it sooner with my first! Babywearing literally means wearing your baby in a wrap or a sling. There is something very primal about holding your baby close to you. My hope is that you will have an open mind and possibly learn about something that may not be culturally normal, yet has been practiced for many thousands of years.

In Western culture we are taught that if we hold our babies too much we may “spoil” them. Children do not spoil. Nurturing them does not make babies turn “rotten.”Meeting their needs for proximity and touch does not make them become more “needy” children. These are all myths!  Follow your instincts. Ignore unsolicited advice. You will hear it ALL many many times. Don’t doubt yourself. Pick that baby up and love him. Another saying I hear frequently that drives me crazy is the “is she a good baby?” Because in our culture “good” babies do not cry or fuss. Think about it, does expressing your needs make you bad? Seriously? Babies should not be labeled good or bad based on their temperament. When they cry it is because they have a need-that is the only way they know how to express themselves.

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What are the benefits of wearing your baby?

*Newborn human babies are the most neurologically underdeveloped mammal. According to this: “Human babies enter the world utterly dependent on caregivers to tend to their every need. Although newborns of other primate species rely on caregivers, too, human infants are especially helpless because their brains are comparatively underdeveloped. Indeed, by one estimation a human fetus would have to undergo a gestation period of 18 to 21 months instead of the usual nine to be born at a neurological and cognitive development stage comparable to that of a chimpanzee newborn.”

*Babywearing makes a nice transition from the warm cozy womb into the loud, bright, and overstimulating world. It gives them a safe and warm place right up against your skin. Being skin to skin helps to regulate baby’s breathing and heart rate. Mom and baby can be in tune with each other, and mom can read baby’s early breastfeeding cues before he starts crying.

*Wearing your baby promotes attachment between mom and baby. Babies have needs to survive and physical touch and proximity are among these needs.  Wearing baby helps regulate her neurologically. Babies can smell mama, hear her heartbeat, hear her voice, feel her warmth. Mama can smell baby and feel baby which helps with bonding. Baby feels safe, calm, and secure. You can even nurse baby while in the sling or wraps.

According to Dr. Sears: “It’s easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby’s gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby’s systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby. Picture how these regulating systems work. Mother’s rhythmic walk, for example, (which baby has been feeling for nine months) reminds baby of the womb experience. This familiar rhythm, imprinted on baby’s mind in the womb, now reappears in the “outside womb” and calms baby. As baby places her ear against her mother’s chest, mother’s heartbeat, beautifully regular and familiar, reminds baby of the sounds of the womb. As another biological regulator, baby senses mother’s rhythmic breathing while worn tummy- to-tummy, chest-to-chest. Simply stated, regular parental rhythms have a balancing effect on the infant’s irregular rhythms. Babywearing “reminds” the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb.”

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*Babywearing makes life easier for you. Your hands are free so you can go about your day! I literally did everything with my son in the wrap or sling. I washed dishes, cooked, played with my 2 year old, went hiking and even grocery shopping. I didn’t have to carry that big car seat around like I did with my first son (before discovering the world of babywearing). I would scoop him right into the wrap and go about our day. He was safe, secure, content, happy. He nursed when he needed to, and slept when he needed to, all on mommy. He literally lived in there for months and months. I could spend my time playing with my 2 year old!  and you know what? My “baby” is now a very happy, content, and independent 3 year old. He is confident, loving, and has a wicked sense of humor. I am by no means saying that babies “must” be worn by mama, and must be worn all the time. I’m saying have an open mind and try it out! Families obviously have many different dynamics. If mom is working, having a caregiver or family member wear baby can help make the transition easier for baby, and baby can still reap the benefits of being held close. Dads can help soothe baby by babywearing as well!

Here I am snowshoeing and pulling my 2 year old in a sled while baby is sleeping on me in a carrier:

 

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*When baby is sick he can be close to mommy or daddy. I found this helped make him feel better and he rarely cried even though he felt lousy. In the pictures below my baby was sick-in the second one it was summertime and he had the coxsackie virus. He didn’t eat or drink much of anything for over a week. He just nursed a tiny bit, and hung out on mama. Some babies have GERD and need to be upright or they are in pain. I was able to nurse my baby in the moby wrap while in an upright position. This made him more comfortable and made nursing in those early days much easier for both of us.

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*Babies worn in slings are happy! They cry less!  In cultures where babywearing is the norm, babies rarely cry. Crying is exhausting for parents and babies, and floods baby with the stress hormone cortisol. Babywearing is helpful for colicky babies (both of mine were) Babywearing literally saved my sanity! I think that many of the parents who discover “babywearing” are the ones who have high need babies and are looking for ways to soothe them. 

*You can “wear” baby down at bedtime! Ever hear the term “witching hour” …those evening hours where baby cries for no apparent reason? Put baby in the sling or wrap and and they can ease into sleep for bedtime…I did this often and then would slowly slide him out of the sling and into his little basket! Here is a picture of him after being in the sling and falling asleep at night…I transferred him into his little basket. You can see the little red lines on him from being all wrapped up on me.

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*Babywearing is fun! Not only is it easy, but it can also be enjoyable-especially for taking walks, hiking, and going places.  Toddlers enjoy being “worn” as well-it helps calm them down when they are overstimulated or tired. You can carry them on your back, hip or front depending on your preference and the type of carrier you have.

My favorite carrier by far is the moby wrap. It takes a few tries to get it down good, but that wrap was a lifesaver for me!

*regarding babywearing safety: there are some unsafe baby carriers out there. Deep pouches or bag-like slings (some even come with elastic edges) are not safe. You would never want to put a baby deep inside a deep pouch where they cannot get air. Here are some resources on safety:

http://babywearerscircle.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-ultimate-guide-to-babywearing-safety-unsafe-slings/

http://www.hobomama.com/2010/10/international-babywearing-week-safe.html

 

Here are some other great babywearing resources:

http://babywearinginternational.org/

http://www.thebabywearer.com/

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/parentingtopics/babywearing.php

Links to evidence based articles:

http://www.thebabywearer.com/index.php?page=bwbenefits#Benefits

A guide to help choose the best carrier for your needs: 

http://www.thebabywearer.com/index.php?page=whattype

A great book for children about babywearing around the world:

http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Mothers-Back-Carrying-around/dp/B006TR1UAM

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

Kiddo “Snack” Ideas

boyscarrots

 

I frequently get asked for snack ideas so here is a list of some things I came up with.  One thing kids love is to eat their snacks with toothpicks-(once they are old enough to not stab each other). Also-if they are involved in the process of making their snacks, they find eating the snack more enjoyable!

 

Snack Ideas:

*hard boiled eggs-sliced with sea salt, quartered with sea salt, molded with egg molds (molds that shape the egg into a silly shake), sprinkled with, sea salt, pepper or different seasonings.

*”popcorn” cauliflower (a favorite with my kids)- Set oven to 400 Degrees. Cut up a head of cauliflower into small florets, spread onto a cookie sheet. Melt about 1/4 cup of coconut oil and drizzle over the cauliflower. Season with sea salt and pepper-my kids also like onion powder on it. Roast in the oven for approx 45 minutes to an hour stirring frequently-we like it golden brown all over. Put it in a big bowl and give everyone a fork or a toothpick

*Roasted Broccoli- Set oven to 375 cut up 1 or 2 heads of broccoli-spread on a cookie sheet-drizzle with 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast stirring frequently 15-20 minutes or until it starts to brown

*Kale Chips- Oven to 350 degrees chop Kale into chip sized pieces and spread on a cookie sheet. Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil and drizzle all over kale. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven stirring frequently. These cook fast and can burn quickly. You want them crisp to touch and they just start browning.

*Apple wedges with almond butter for dipping

*avocado slices plain or sprinkled with sea salt

*Coconut flour muffins (I make these with the zest and juice of an orange added to the batter-they can be made with enjoy life chocolate chips as well)

*Chopped up veggies and fruits-my kids love sugar snap peas, cut up apples, cut up carrots etc…

*a whole carrot-sometimes they like to pretend they are a bunny and chomp on a whole big carrot.

*a bowl of berries

*crack open a fresh coconut-my 6 year old LOVES smashing the coconut (after we drain out the liquid of course)

*kerry gold grass-fed cheeses (for those who do dairy)

*applegate farms deli meats rolled up around a slice of avocado or rolled around some kerrygold cheese for those who do grass-fed dairy

*almonds or other nuts with the shells on for older kids (they enjoy sitting at the table and cracking them open)

*bacon and avocado sandwiches (bacon as the “bread” with a slice of avocado between 2 pieces of bacon)

*coconut milk smoothies

*banana “ice cream” take 1 frozen banana and put it in the blender with a tiny splash of almond milk, coconut cream, or coconut milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Blend and serve with spoons in a bowl. Or add more liquid to make a banana smoothie

*Blood Orange Coconut Balls

 

Feel free to add to this list in the comment sections, I would love to expand upon it!

 

Thoughts On Feeding Our Children With Love

Jonahmuffin1

As parents we want to nurture our children-keep them healthy and strong. We want to shape their taste buds so they crave the foods that nurture their bodies. However, from day one we are undermined and that can shake our confidence and make us second guess our choices.

When I wouldn’t give my 1 year old ice cream at a party I was told “you don’t want him to feel deprived” and when I wouldn’t buy him a sugar covered blueberry muffin I had a friend tell me that he will go off to college and binge on junk food if I don’t let him have it now. Seriously?! It can be very overwhelming. On top of that we are busy, rushed, and believe that we don’t have the time to commit to our children’s nutrition. Our understanding of what real food is has shifted and what we think of as food really isn’t. “Snacks” as we know them come in a package with colors and health claims such as “heart healthy” “made with whole grain” or “100 calories”. Our Children get use to having snacks that come in a package or a box. We buy into this marketing-It says it is healthy so therefore it must be. We associate “treats” and packaged snacks with love and happiness. So if you don’t give it to your kids you may feel guilty-like you are somehow depriving them. That is NOT the truth! We are very much addicted to processed foods and refined grains. Food does not equal happiness or love (wish I could underline that 3 times). The saddest thing to me is the lack of confidence that we have in ourselves to make healthy choices for our children. We constantly look to medical professionals and books to answer all of our questions. However, the Doctor and the Author do not know your child like you do. We have lost trust in our instincts and ourselves. We don’t believe that we can do it, and that to me is very disheartening.

Our children are bombarded with mixed messages about food on a daily basis. The messages are everywhere-and come from TV, magazines, family, friends, stores, packaging. They even discuss “nutrition” with students at school, even though I don’t agree at all with what they try to teach them. We don’t want our children to have a bad relationship with food. Yet images and voices are everywhere and it can be overwhelming. As moms we judge each other constantly-“so and so won’t give her son food options and only offers what she cooks!” “So and so gives her son way too many options and now he is so picky”

So how do we feed our children with love and confidence so that they may grow to have a healthy relationship with/understanding of food? This is the bottom line-it is what we all want to do.

Here are some tips that I think may be helpful:

* Don’t listen to the peanut gallery. Remember the saying “water off a duck’s back”…let it roll off. Ignore nay sayers. Change the subject. Do not try to convince people why you choose what you choose (unless they ask and really want to learn from you). You will not change their mind. You are the best parent for your child. You were chosen to be their parent for a reason, and you know what is best for them. You know their personality-no book, other family member, or stranger knows your child like you do. If you didn’t ask someone for his or her opinion, kindly change the subject. You do not owe ANYONE an explanation for your choices. You know your child best of all. We all know the people who feel the need to judge you do so because they have insecurities within themselves.

* Feed your child with love and respect. Food is meant to nourish us, and it can be pleasurable as well. However, I think the best way to show love is to feed your children foods that you know are nourishing their body. Feed them real, whole foods. Not because a TV commercial, family member, or a package said so…we fall for marketing big-time. Marketing is all about sales and the health claims are false. Feed it to them because you know it is real food. It’s challenging, but take it one day at a time. I’m still learning as I go. They do learn to trust their body and how different foods make them feel inside. This past generation put a great deal of pressure on children to “finish everything on your plate” and fed into the “good eater/bad eater” mentality. You cannot force feed a child-that is just plain old wrong. Teach them to listen to their own body. Don’t guilt them with “what? You don’t like my cooking?” “Why aren’t you eating this?” etc. Don’t hover over and watch them eat. Don’t tell them how proud you are of them if they eat their food. A child is not good or bad for eating or not eating. This creates guilt, fear and uncertainty around food. Children learn to feel the sensation of fullness and stop eating when they are full. They actually learn to trust their own body. Make the experience of trying new things pleasurable and calm. You can ask what they thought of certain foods-but don’t get upset with them if they do not like it. It can take SEVERAL attempts for a child to actually decide they like something.

* There is no need to offer several different meals to a child-or make them exactly what they want for each meal. In my opinion, that does create a “peanut butter sandwich” everyday kind of eater. They do not yet fully understand what is healthy for their body. I’ve had several people ask me how do you get your children to eat these healthy foods? I choose to be firm, yet flexible. My boys are use to getting what is offered at each meal. If they are hungry, they will eat something from the healthy choices on their plate. There just aren’t other meal options. With that said, they get several different choices on their plate (and I try to include something I know they enjoy)-healthy meats, veggies and fruits to choose from. Now when they have an excess of processed foods (like say at a birthday party) they tend to get a bellyache and say, “why did you let me have that?” Kids adjust and learn to find healthy foods palatable. Trust that they will.

* Stick to your guns, yet pick your battles. This is the hardest part of raising children-outside influences. I have the hardest time with this over everything else. Birthday parties. Public schools. Family. I have this conversation frequently with my friends. Everyone has a different opinion on this. Some choose to avoid these types of outings all together. Some take their children but pack their own food. I personally do not agree with the amount of processed “food” that we as a culture feel is okay to give our children. You go to a “play place” (ie: bowling alley, bounce place, birthday party place) that says no food or drink allowed, yet all they serve is food cooked in rancid vegetable oils, processed junk, and soda. However, I know my children cannot live in a bubble. I have to believe that if the foundation for healthy eating is created at home, they will continue to eat that way in the future. We don’t have much of that stuff in my house, and they know that. We do, however, let them eat food provided at friend’s houses, birthday parties, and when we visit family. I do speak up if I feel uncomfortable. For example-I am opposed to my children having soda. That is me listening to my gut, and knowing something is not right. Don’t ever feel bullied into someone feeding your child something that you do not feel okay with.

* One of the things I was recently discussing with a friend are the mixed messages children today are receiving such as processed food advertisements everywhere; yet at the same time everyone focusing on the obesity epidemic, dieting, and healthy eating. That must be so overwhelming and difficult for children to process. It is for me as an adult. I try to teach my children about real food, and knowing exactly where their food came from. I want them to understand how animals are treated, how to grow food, what GMO’s are…who monsanto is. My hope is that they will be educated about food, but not overwhelmed and stressed about it. Instead of placing the focus on healthy eating, diets and nutrition, I shift the focus to a basic understanding of what is real food, and what is not. I will build upon that, as they get bigger. We plan to visit the farm where we get our meat from this Spring when the babies are born.

* Whatever you decide to do, be confident with your decisions-Your children know when you are not. They can read you just as well as you can read them. If you let them have something you really don’t feel good about, let it go. You let them have it, now move on. Don’t give it to them and then get stressed about it in front of them. They are counting on you to guide them confidently.

If you are accustomed to feeding your child processed foods then take baby steps and go easy on yourself. Slowly start transitioning to more and more homemade foods and shift away from the inner aisles of the grocery store.  Think outside the box (literally). Believe that you can feed your children real food, and you are not wrong, crazy, or overly strict for doing so! My next post will be all about real food snack ideas for kiddos 🙂

 

 

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.